Best budget gaming laptop 2023

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The best cheap gaming laptops offer a sweet spot of performance to price, in a portable package that lets you game away from home. But with so many budget gaming laptops under $1,000 now on the market, how do you know which ones are any good? We’ve tried and tested them for you, looking at graphics, processing speed, screen specs, and battery life. The products on this list aren’t necessarily the best gaming laptops ever, but they’re solid performers for the money you’ll pay.

Cheap gaming laptops are usually built with lower-end components and cost-saving materials. If you like to work remotely, disabling the GPU and using the CPUs integrated graphics will see you through the day with the laptop barely sipping away from the battery, but you can always turn it back on for heavier workloads.

You can get budget gaming laptops from the likes of Lenovo, Dell, and Asus, to name a few. At this price range, you’ll want to be careful with balancing cheaper components with longevity – often, it can be better to opt for an older but higher-spec laptop. Below, we have a selection of recommendations for the best cheap gaming laptop under $1000 (around £1000).

1. Gigabyte G5 2023

Best cheap gaming laptop overall.

Gigabyte G5 2023 specs:

Graphics RTX 4050 6GB GDDR6 75W
CPU Intel i5-12500H
RAM 16GB DDR4 dual channel
Storage 512GB PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD
Connectivity 1 x USB 2.0 (type A), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (type A), 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (type C), 1 x Mini DP 1.4, 1 x HDMI, Headphone/microphone 3.5mm jack, RJ-45 LAN port, DC-in jack, MicroSD card reader
Screen 15.6-inch, 1920×1080 144Hz
Dimensions (W x D x H) 14.2 x 9.4 x 0.89 inch (36 x 23.8 x 2.27 cm)
Weight 4.59lb (2.08kg)

Pros:

  • Well-rounded specs
  • Slimmed down construction
  • Upgradable storage and RAM

Cons:

  • Unimpressive battery life
  • Only 512GB of storage

The Gigabyte G5 is an extremely well-balanced laptop with an RTX 4060 with 6 GDDR6 VRAM that will offer good levels of performance at 1080p for several years yet, as long as you are realistic about settings in the latest AAA games.

An ace up the RTX 4000 series is the introduction of DLSS 3 frame generation which improves the smoothness of the experience for games that support it, making better use of the 144hz display. You can even play Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing at respectable framerates, something that was almost unthinkable on lower-end laptops just a few years ago. If you play esports titles, you’ll have absolutely no issue running them flat-out at the native refresh rate and resolution.

The G5 is equipped with 16GB DDR4 RAM, and while not at the cutting edge, the 12th gen Intel i5-12500H with its 4 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores will make short work of gaming and productivity workloads.

At 512GB, the SSD is a little on the leaner side, especially seeing how astronomically huge games are becoming but fortunately, this is user replaceable if you would like to upgrade this further down the line. Be sure to check our best SSD for gaming roundup to get a great deal.

The 2023 G5 has seen a size reduction of 22% from the last generation, with no sacrifice made to the screen size or performance, which makes it great for fitting in a backpack. On the downside, the battery life is only around 5 hours in a mixed workload of writing, light photo editing, and browsing, which means you need to stay close to a power outlet.

2. Asus ROG Flow X13 2022

Best small gaming laptop under $1,000.

Asus ROG Flow X13 specs:

Graphics Nvidis RTX 3050 Ti 4GB
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
RAM 16GB LPDDR5 dual channel
Storage 1 TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0
Connectivity 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x ROG XG Mobile Interface, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Screen 13.4-inch, 1900 x 1200, 120Hz
Dimensions (W x D x H) 11.77 x 8.74 x 0.62 inches (29.9 x 22.2 x 1.58 cm)
Weight 2.87 lbs (1.30 kg)

Pros:

  • Extremely portable
  • Desktop rivaling CPU
  • 16:10 aspect ratio

Cons:

Best Buy has the terrific ASUS ROG Flow X13 for $999.99, which qualifies it for this list. The Z13 is a productivity monster, with an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS to make short work of any CPU load. Powering the visuals is the RTX 3050 Ti which can tap into features such as DLSS 2 to get games running at faster speeds to make use of the 120Hz display.

The Flow X13’s display is in the 16:10 aspect ratio, which isn’t common to see in this price range outside of ultrabooks. The extra vertical distance goes a long way with productivity and reading and makes the 13.4-inch display feel quite expansive for its small footprint. If you find it a little small to use at home though then you might find a great alternative in our top picks for the best gaming monitors.

The integrated 680M of the Ryzen CPU is no slouch itself and can quite closely hold its own with the 3050 Ti in games that don’t support Nvidia-exclusive features. You might find you get better battery life running lighter titles off of the iGPU.

It is somewhat of a strange pairing though, the 6900HS was at the top end of the mobile AMD CPU stack in 2022 and it massively outclasses the GPU which tells us that the Z13 most likely has work applications that require CUDA cores in mind and gaming being a secondary feature. But game they do and we won’t complain about having a top-class ultrabook for under $1000.

3. Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3

Best gaming laptop under $800.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 specs:

Graphics RTX 3050 4GB
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 6600H
RAM 8GB DDR5 2666Mhz
Storage 256GB (US) / 512GB (UK) NVMe SSD
Connectivity USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 2, USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, Headphone / Microphone 3.5mm jack, DC power in, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Screen 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 120Hz FreeSync
Dimensions (W x D x H) 14.16 x 10.49 x 1.02 inches (36 x 25.2 x 2.42 cm)
Weight (2.32 kg)

Pros:

  • Efficient CPU
  • Fast FreeSync 120Hz Display
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

Lenovo makes just about every laptop imaginable but one of their most popular is the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 and for good reason. Whilst its specs might be on the lower end, so is the price as it can be had for $699.99 (£695).

The RTX 3050 won’t so much as flinch when it comes to older esports titles and will make good use of the 120Hz display. Any dropped frames will get smoothed out by the FreeSync display for a consistent and tear-free gaming experience.

If you’re away from the plug, Lenovo claims you can get up to 13.5 hours of battery life watching videos (with the brightness down) by just using the AMD 6600H which is an extremely efficient CPU with an equally impressive integrated iGPU, the 660M which can also play many games in its own right.

The US version however only comes with a 256GB SSD which hurts its value proposition somewhat but this is easily user replaceable. Also upgradable is the RAM which at 8GB is pretty paltry, even for basic workloads such as browsing and light photo editing so you will definitely want to grab another 8GB stick at some point. This will offer even more performance as you will be running your RAM in dual channel so you will see quite the uplift in framerates.

4. Acer Nitro 5 17.3” 2022

Best cheap gaming laptop with a big screen.

Acer Nitro 5 17.3 specs:

Graphics RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6 95W
CPU Intel i5-12500H
RAM 16GB DDR4 dual channel
Storage 512GB PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD
Connectivity 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (type A), 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (type A), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (type C), 1 x HDMI, Headphone/microphone 3.5mm jack, RJ-45 LAN port, DC-in jack, MicroSD card reader
Screen 17.3-inch, 1920×1080, 144Hz
Dimensions (W x D x H) 15.8 x 11.6 x 1.13 inch (40.0 x 29.5 x 2.86 cm)
Weight 6.6lb (3kg)

Pros:

  • Ample sized 17.3-inch high-refresh-rate screen
  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • Slightly pricey for a 3050 Ti
  • Dim display

If you need a lot of space for work or want your mobile gaming to be as immersive as possible, you can’t go wrong with the Acer Nitro 5.

You might struggle a little running the latest and greatest with the RTX 3050, but it should still be more than enough for lighter games such as esports titles, and modest settings in more modern games, especially at 1080p.

Whether gaming or working, you’ll appreciate how smooth the 144Hz panel is, allowing you to line up headshots and glide effortlessly across your Excel spreadsheet.

The 16GB of RAM will let you engage in varied workloads too without a hitch, be it 3D modeling, photo editing, and having multiple documents open. The aesthetics, whilst gamer inspired are actually quite subtle so you shouldn’t feel too obnoxious rocking up the cafe or meeting when you pull out the 6.6lb (3kg) behemoth out of your bag.

All that extra space offers you ample cooling and a 90 Whr battery that returns some impressive battery life so you should be confident in a full day’s work if you’re just using the iGPU. It also means that Acer has been able to include an open 2.5” hard drive bay with an included SATA cable, meaning you’ll be able to expand the storage with a still fast and cheap SATA SSD.

The display, whilst large, is unfortunately a little dim so playing games or working in bright environments may prove to be a little challenging but the matte coating should go some way to mitigating reflections hindering visibility further.

With such a large screen you might want to sit back and enjoy a movie without fear of cables being yanked out so check out our best wireless gaming headsets for stress-free sonar delights.

5. HP Victus 15

Best budget AMD gaming laptop.

HP Victus 15 specs:

Graphics AMD RX6500M 4GB
CPU AMD 5600H
RAM 8GB DDR4
Storage 512GB (US) / 256GB (UK) SSD
Connectivity 2 x USB 3.0 Gen 1 (type A), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (type C), HDMI 2.1, Headphone/microphone 3.5mm jack, SD card reader, AC smart pin
Screen 15.6 inch 1920×1080 144Hz
Dimensions (W x D x H) 14.09 x 10.04 x 0.93 inches (35.79 x 25.50 x 2.36 cm)
Weight 6.78 lbs (3.08 kg)

Pros

  • Efficient performer
  • Fast screen

Cons:

  • US doesn’t get headset and mouse deal

If you run Linux, you’ll be well suited with an AMD machine too as the open-source drivers for AMD are some of the best and most stable on the OS. No matter the operating system, your games will look great on the solid 144Hz display with the Radeon RX6500M pushing the frames. The 6500M isn’t going to set any records but most esports titles and older games will run well.

If you do a lot of typing you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the keyboard at this price point. The keys are nice and tactile and you also get a numpad, which some people can’t live without.

Letting the HP Victus down is its single channel 8GB of RAM which seriously hampers your performance. Upgrading to 16GB is highly recommended and doesn’t cost much extra. The UK version also only gets a 256GB SSD, whereas in the US you get 512GB.

6. Asus Chromebook Vibe/Flip CX55

Best budget Chromebook gaming laptop.

ASUS Chromebook Vibe C55 Flip specs:

Graphics Intel Iris Xe
CPU Intel i5-1135G7
RAM 16GB LPDDR4X dual channel
Storage 512GB (US) / 256GB (UK) SSD
Connectivity 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (type A), 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (type C), 1 x HDMI, Headphone/microphone 3.5mm jack, MicroSD card reader
Screen 15.6-inch, 1920×1080, 144Hz
Dimensions (W x D x H) 14.08 x 9.48 x 0.73 inches (35.76 x 24.08 x 1.85 cm)
Weight 4.30 lbs (1.95 kg)

Pros:

  • 144Hz display
  • 3 months GeForce Now and Amazon Luna+ (US only)
  • Convertible

Cons:

  • No dedicated GPU
  • Limited native ChromeOS games

It’s no secret that computer components have soared in price over the last few years and one of the potential solutions to remedy this is via cloud streaming with services such as GeForce NOW, Xbox Cloud Gaming and Amazon Luna. This is where the Asus Chromebook Vibe C55 Flip positions itself in the market.

Provided you have a good enough internet connection, you can have a great gaming experience. The 144Hz display delivers a smooth experience and almost makes you forget you’re on an affordable Chromebook. When not gaming, the C55 can absolutely hold its own in productivity workloads such as taking notes at school, light photo editing, and watching videos.

Being a Chromebook, you get all the Android niceties such as Google Assistant and being able to run Android apps natively. Steam also recently improved the gaming front-ends performance on ChromeOS too so gaming has never been better for Google’s desktop OS. A lot of Android games play much nicer with a controller and luckily for you, we’ve already taken a look at the best PC controllers.

It would be great to have a dedicated GPU at this price bracket. As ChromeOS game support is so limited you may not mind, but it reduces its useability as a dual booting machine. It’s also unfortunate that at a similar price, the UK version only gets a 256GB SSD.

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